A Collaborative Success

This winter, former Mad Man Pete Pedulla and I embarked on a video collaboration. This was in response to a call from the City of Lowell to compete for a prize that would be given to the best 15 second promotional spot for the city. The city decided to give two prizes, to two very different pieces, both of which are linked to in the press release that follows. Ours will be showing in theaters in the area before the feature films. If you see it, let me know. I would love to know that you saw it and what you thought.


City Manager, Special Events Office, and the Department of Planning & Development use the creative economy to create the message

[LOWELL, MA— May 23, 2013] The City of Lowell has been rebuilding itself through historical redevelopment and the creative economy since the 1980’s.  Now home to a large artist’s community, as well as the University of Massachusetts Lowell and Middlesex Community College, Lowell has become known for its wealth of artistic activity and resources.  So this year, when the City decided to create a marketing campaign, it made sense to turn to that local community.   The result  was a campaign of ads, films, and marketing materials that have made it into malls, the backs of buses, movie theaters, and people’s shopping carts, all designed by established and emerging Lowell artists.

“We’ve been talking about how important the creative economy is to Lowell for years now.  It just made sense that we would tap them when we were looking for some creative ideas to promote the City,” said Economic Development Director Theresa Park.  

The campaign first got off the ground when University of Massachusetts professor Karen Roehr approached the City about a grant she had received for her students to design a comprehensive marketing campaign for a business.  Roehr thought the City would be the best entity to promote and approached City Manager Bernie Lynch about the idea. “We weren’t entirely sure what to expect when we agreed to work with the students,” said Lynch, “but we are extremely pleased with the results.”

The UMass campaign designed by Jason Taylor, Juliana DeSouza, and Mike Noonan was incorporated into a series of ads promoting everything from dining and galleries to baseball and affordable housing.  The ads have been appearing in the Burlington Mall, as well as in MBTA bus shelters and on bus tails that have been travelling throughout the greater Boston area.  

The success of the UML campaign encouraged the City to reach out again to the community, this time with a pair of marketing contests:  the design of a “Lowell Bag” to be used for distribution at special events like the Lowell Folk Festival, and the creation of a 15-second ad to appear in movie theaters.   

Graphic designer Chase Compton won the bag competition by creating a stylized image of a factory with an entirely upper-cased LOWELL embedded in the design.  The winning picture was screen printed onto bags and sewn by local manufacturer UnWrapped, keeping the whole process “in-house”.  

Three artists shared the award for the best 15-second film.  Former New York ad man Peter Pedulla and local photographer Adrien Bisson teamed up to create a fast-paced montage of “what’s to like about Lowell,” narrated by local actresses Obehi Janice and Jacqueline O’ Kelly. The film is currently being shown at the AMC theatre in Woburn and begins screening in Burlington and Methuen later this spring.  The second film was created by Lowell filmmaker Joey Sylvester and presents a series of scenic vistas of Lowell over which are superimposed the defining characteristics of the City, including creativity and courage.  

While this is the first time the City has created a marketing campaign with local talent, it won’t be the last.  The Office of Economic Development is already working on plans to create a series of films to promote local businesses.  Park had this to say about the decision: “When you have the rich resources that we have here in Lowell, the adage ‘buy local’ is easy to achieve.”

Both winning films, Compton’s bag design, and the ad campaigns created by UMass Lowell can be viewed on the City’s website,

Pedulla/Bisson link

Sylvester link


About The City of Lowell

A crossroad of commerce and creativity, the City of Lowell is a diverse urban environment. Named one of the best places to live by Boston Magazine, the City is characterized by its established arts community, distinct residences and commercial vitality.  The fourth largest city in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Lowell is home to an eclectic mix of cultural attractions and events including the Lowell Folk Festival, Lowell National Historical Park, Lowell Memorial Auditorium and the Tsongas Arena.  A leader in urban redevelopment, Lowell offers a variety of residential and commercial space from renovated mills to modern high-rises.  Strategically located at the intersections of Routes 495, 93 and 3, Lowell has established itself as a leading business and entertainment destination throughout Massachusetts and Greater New England.  

Office of the City Manager

City Hall • 375 Merrimack Street • Lowell, MA 01852

P: 978.970.4000 • F: 978.970.4007

Bernard F. Lynch

City Manager